A truly superb opera -excellently conducted, directed and sung!
In many ways I think this must be one of the ultimate recorded versions of an opera. Other winners are Berg's Lulu in the 1996 Glyndebourne recording, and Don Giovanni in the masterly Metropolitan performance from 2000 conducted by James Levine. The casting in this performance of Wozzeck is immaculate - Hildegard Behrens tackling the part of Marie as few others have done; this is - I think - as problematic a role in the opera as that of Wozzeck himself. But the most unforgettable moment of this filmed version is - to me - the face of Claudio Abbado when the applause starts. Having been totally immersed in Berg's glorious music, he is "rudely wakened" from his concentration by the sounds from the audience, responding to the noise with a brief expression of pain, brilliantly captured by the camera. This is indeed an occasion where total silence with bowed heads from the audience would have been more appropriate than shouts and whistles and the dreadful sound of clapping.
I've seen and heard this superb opera in many versions, on stage and on record, but this is in many ways the most satisfying one. With singers like Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and Theo Adam before him, to name just two from a very long list of superb performances in what is probably one of the most difficult male parts in all opera, Franz Grundheber has all that is required - and much more. The other singers - Philip Langridge as Andres, Anna Gonda as "Marguerete" (sic. SHAME IMDb! - her name in the opera is actually Margret) and Aage Haugland (a countryman of mine - one of Norway's best singers ever) as the doctor, just to mention some of the many outstanding performances in this production - are excellent. But the one that sends chills down my spine is the Idiot in the Tavern Scene, who is not mentioned as part of the cast.
In all - apart from the untimely applause - I have nothing to criticize here.
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